“Since this is off the record, is everyone here?” Jen asked.
“Far as I can tell, when Lucas get’s back from the little boy’s room, we will all be present or accounted for,” I replied.
“So everyone knows the purpose of this meeting. We are here to decide what to do with the James Smiley information, which Maxine and Lucas have gathered.” she went on.
Lucas entered looking nervous. He didn’t want to blow his big chance to get back in. “So Lucas tell us what you have?” Jen suggested.
“I tracked down his money. I can prove he raided his client’s escrow and even their investment accounts during periods of inactivity by the accounts owners. It very complicated, very hard to prove, and very illegal, but I can get him.’
“The problem is that the facts you have gathered would have to be verified by someone else before they could be used in court. Since your information was obtained under a cloud.” Jen said. It was her way of telling us, what we had done was interesting but useless more or less in a criminal case. “What we could do with it, is to tip of the IRS. They pay a reward for information and ask no questions. Mostly the value of that would be harassment, not that there is anything wrong with that in this case.
“Criminal chargers would be better,” I suggested. “I know an FBI agent, I can slip her the information, but it might take years for them to get a case, if they ever do. I like the IRS actually.” I said.
“Okay now about the criminal case of Serial Child Abuse and statutory rape,” Jen stated. “I know there are nine witnesses because I have their statements. That is more than enough to get an indictment. We can get him in front of a jury, if he chooses to go that way. What we can’t do it guarantee a conviction. Look at OJ.. and that Anthony chick. The jury will see a white collar professional and trailer trash victims out to make a buck, according to his lawyer. They were all coached by the police and the lawyers. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we admit that some of these girls sound very believable, but it’s all false memory planted by Ms Stone during the initial interview. After all she is not a social worker or a physiologist, she is TV star out to make a TV show.” He will say it like it is a criminal offense to make a reality TV show.
“So the jury could make that monumental leap to believe that it is all a giant frame for TV ratings. It could happen that the jury lets him walk.”
“That is absolutely unacceptable,” I said.
“That’s why we need the sting,” Mike said. “Catch his slimy ass in the act. I can get you actresses to work the con. You know, he is going to recognize you Ms. Stone.”
“My, my, aren’t we formal. Mike you are videoing this aren’t you.”
“Of course I am, everyone here is on the payroll in one way or another.” he said smugly.
“You are absolutely right.” I said while Jen looked at me like I was crazy. “Lucas works for me, not you, I quit and I’m taking him with me.”
“If she quits, then I have no further relationship with you, so get the fuck out of my office,” Jen said with a huge smile on her face. “And if that tape shows up, I will have your ass and that rinky dink TV network in court for the next hundred years. Remember the news paper in england that folded for stealing information.”
“I did tell you how Jen loves to sue people with deep pockets.” I explained. “It’s why neither of us need your jobs.” I said it just as smug.
“Okay, as usual you two win. Only an idiot would go up against you both at once.” He said it handing me the memory card from some kind of device inside his jacket pocket. The lens was most likely a button on his coat or some such crap.
“Now Mike, I know you better than that. You have some other shit going down so the ‘I Quit’ sticks, get out.” I said seriously.
“If you do this, I will sue you for breach of contract.” He was mad as hell.
“Bring it the fuck on, I will eat your ass for breakfast and all you fancy lawyers as well. I wrote that contract you stupid shit.” Jen said. I imagined that she actually was a wolf staring down Bambi.
“What’s it going to take to make this right?” he asked finally.
“Well, big shot producer, I want to review every image, before it goes to the network. You edit it, get my approval, then you send it in. If you don’t get my approval, it goes to the trash can, period, no exceptions.” I smiled sweetly.
“All right have your shyster write it up,” he said.
“We will resume at 1PM, after I have the new agreement ready for signatures.” she said.
“Do we need Gwen to sign off on this?” I asked.
“No, Gwen is no longer involved with this show. She has been replaced by a editor and camera person from the Network.”
“Careful Mike you will be the next one out. But that’s your problem, not mine.” I said.
“You are going to set him up aren’t you?” he asked.
“First you sign, then we talk,” I said. Actually I did have something in mind. I stepped outside while I waited for Jen to dictate the agreement to her paralegal. She came outside while I was making a phone call.
“Let’s eat,” she said. “It always makes me hungry to castrate a former friend.” She laughed a wicked laugh.
It was a quick Barbecue tray at the Barbecue Pit for us. It was standing room only in the place which suited me just fine. I really wanted to get back to the meeting. “Would you really have walked away for good?’ Jen asked.
“Of course, would you have defended me for breach of contract?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, my life would be so boring without you and your friends. So you are going to sting that prick, aren’t you?” she asked.
“Oh yeah, but you have to wait for the details. I won’t be using the network resources though. They might own Mike’s soul, but they don’t own mine.” I said.
“I have seen you dance Maxine, trust me, you have no soul. Jen said it wiping the barbecue sauce from her mouth. ”Before you say it, I know that it was a mean thing to say.”
”Yes it was, but I actually was going to agree with you. I probably lost it about the same time I lost my virginity to the now senator.”
”Hell, it is probably playing poker with my soul and half a dozen others that he took when he was captain of the high school football team.” Jen said laughing again. I had to admit that Jen was a lot of fun, when she was on a roll. The afternoon was likely to be really interesting.
The return at 1PM found Gwen missing and Lucas grinning like the cat that ate the canary. I just hoped it was not from a quick lunch of Gwen. I feared that it was, since she was likely to be gone in a day or so.
I was there and Jen was there, it would seem that everyone was present, until my cell phone rang. “Hello,”I said. I knew who it should be, and it was. “Yes give her the phone please. I would appreciate it, if you showed the lady back. She is part of my team.” Jen gave me an evil look, she didn’t like surprises, even from me it seemed.
The washed out blond had to be introduced since none of them had seen the tape. “Everybody this is Lindsay Graham, no relation to the politician. She is going to be an advisor to me for this this operation, I need someone with a very special background and Lindsay is the go between. She is a parole officer for the state.”
“Well Hello Lindsay,” Jen said nodding in her direction. Mike did the same and even Lucas was interested.
“Alright,” Mike said. “What is it you have in mind.”
“First of all Mike, I don’t trust actors to do this kind of thing. For this you need someone who realizes this is not a game, it is real. They also need to know people can die, and not be afraid to push the envelope to get it done.”
“Then you aren’t going to have him involved with one of my people,” Mike asked.
“Mike, it could take years to get someone close to him that way. It couldn’t be forced. We would have to just keep throwing women at him till one stuck. It could even be a total waste of time period.” He seemed to see the wisdom in that.
“What I have in mind, he most likely wont be able to say no to. If we do it right. we can hit him with civil suits and criminal charges both. I want him for the child abuse and rape. The feds can have him for RICO and take everything as proceeds of a criminal conspiracy for all I care. I want him doing the Texas two step with Bubba for about a hundred years.”
“I’ll second that,” Lindsay said out of no where. I hadn’t expected her to get involved at that stage.
“If I approach him to make a deal, like Mike said, there is a possibility he might recognize me. I need a ringer, and Lindsay can help me get one. Someone whose background can stand an investigation.” I said.
“So what is the hook,” Mike asked.
“The hook is a fake blackmail attempt. My ringer and Lucas approach this clown. They offer to sell him the information package to do with as he pleases for 50K. My ringer met one of the girls inside. One of them actually did some time for check fraud. Not a lot, just enough so that she might have come in contact with a bad ass dike.
So when the ringer gets out, she meets Lucas a computer whiz. While he checks the story, he finds all these other girls. He hasn’t talked to any of them, but he is sure the cops would love to, what with all the child abuse and rape scandals right now. So 50 K buys the names and addresses and the ringer and Lucas get lost completely.”
“We tape it of course,” Mike said.
“Of course, I don’t want his slippery ass squirming out of it.” I said in agreement.
“It is so fucking elegant,” Jen said. “How do you think of this shit?”
“I watch a lot of TV,” I said with a smile.
“So Lucas, are you in?” I asked.
“Holy shit Max I have been praying for something like this. I’m not only in, I’m dying to start right now.” he said.
“Calm down, I don’t want you over acting,” I said. “Just be yourself and sell the story.”
I took a look at Lindsay. It all depended on her. “So what do you say Lindsay, can my ringer play in the game, or do I need one of Mike’s ringers.”
“If it is what you say and nothing more, and you document that she is working for a licenses private investigator or on the payroll of some legitimate company, I can sign off on it. I would also love to watch that film, when this is over.” she said smiling.
Then we take two weeks to work out the details and rehearse the parts, before opening night,” I said.
‘Works for me,” Mike said. “I will get to work on some camera and recorders for the job.”
“What about Security?” Lindsay asked.
“I think I will handle that personally. I have people on the ground, it is an operation for me.” I said seriously.
“Then I can sign off on it,” Lindsay said again. I had absolutely no doubt that she was ready to bring Cheryl on board.